St. Lawrence Awards Fall 2016 Innovation Grants

St. Lawrence University announced the Fall 2016 Innovation Grant award recipients, which include creating an alternative resource for textbook purchasing, expanding leadership opportunities in the Outdoor Program, providing free feminine hygiene products in St. Lawrence restrooms, broadening the Contemplative Studies Initiative both in the classroom and on the campus, and providing gift cards to faculty who seek external grant funding.

Supported by the President’s Office as a result of a $100,000 grant from The Andrew W. Mellon Foundation, the Innovation Grants program began in 2010 to encourage initiatives that will improve the quality of life at St. Lawrence through curricular, co-curricular or campus life projects and provide a foundation for St. Lawrence’s future. Students, faculty and staff are eligible for the grants.

Below are the winning proposals:

“Verba for Brewer Bookstore”
Joseph Bean (Brewer Bookstore), Jessica Prody (PCA), Olivia Mathieu ’17

Creating the first alternative resource for students to buy textbooks, the grant will allow this purchase of a comparative tool called Verba Software. The software will allow the bookstore to provide a rental program, easy-adoptions for faculty, and a full-service sourcing and online sourcing to ensure competitive pricing to cut the costs of books for students. Verba will also benefit the students by offering transparency through a comparison shopping tool searches the web for the best prices, so students can save time and money when purchasing textbooks. Verba is an easily adaptable, user-friendly tool for students, faculty and bookstore staff. Implementation will take place in the Fall of 2017.

“SLUOP Breaking Barriers
Erin Colvin (HEOP), Devin Farkas (Outdoor Programs), Amy Oliveras ’20

The Outdoor Program, which provides programming for the Carefree Black Girls (CBG) and International Student Services, realizes that the need for participants to have their have their own outdoor personal equipment can be limiting factor in their participation. A core goal of this initiative is to increase diversity and inclusion within the outdoor enthusiast groups at St. Lawrence. This initiative will purchase outdoor personal equipment to loan to students who don’t have their own. Additionally, the grant will also allow for the purchase of cross country skis and snow shoes to meet the request from CBG & HEOP, the Higher Education Opportunities Program.

“Free Feminine Hygiene Products”
John Robert O’Connor (Student Activities), Christopher DiMezzo ’18, Liz Castricone ’17

Because menstruation is a natural bodily function, this grant will allow St. Lawrence to offer free tampons and pads in restrooms in public spaces. The campus community are already given toilet paper, soap and paper towels to manage bodily functions and ensure that students feel comfortable, healthy and sanitary. The same argument can be applied to feminine hygiene products. The initiative has proposed placing a basket of pads and tampons in two restrooms in the Sullivan Student Center and two gender-neutral restrooms in the Owen D. Young Library, areas that are accessible to all students. *Not all people who menstruate identify as women 

“Contemplative Studies Practices
Donna Alvah (History) and Erin McCarthy (Government)

The Contemplative Studies Initiative will continue and broaden the group’s enthusiastic investigation into and discussion of contemplative studies and pedagogy. The grant will also allow for further development of a contemplative community at St. Lawrence by providing opportunities for faculty and staff, including those not yet gotten involved, to engage in contemplative practices to become better prepared to bring practices into their interactions with students and with faculty and staff. The grant will further integrate contemplative practices and pedagogy with ongoing efforts to encourage compassion, social justice and inclusively on campus and in the University’s curriculum.

“Celebrating Faculty Grant-Seeking”
Karl Schonberg (Academic Affairs), Alison Del Rossi (Academic Affairs), Carol Smith (Advancement)

A previous Innovation Grant helped spur increased grant activity among faculty by providing grant seekers with “incentive awards” for teaching and scholarship in fiscal years 2013-16. With those funds expired, this new Innovation Grant will provide a cost-effective and sustainable, yet meaningful, pilot incentive program to recognize the significant amounts of time and effort put forth by grant seekers. The grant will fund a new approach over the next two years to provide faculty who submit grant proposals with restaurant gift cards and a congratulatory note from the President, the Dean’s Office and the Corporate and Foundation Grants Office, inviting them to celebrate their accomplishment with a nice meal out with their partners, family, and/or friends.